Middle aged men and women, who will soon be absorbed in other departments of the BSNL slog during the last days of the telegram. The Eastern Court of the British served as the current Central Telegraph Office of the BSNL in India. This is the soon going to be dead Central Telegraph Office at Janpath in New Delhi.
Smart phones, emails and SMS seem to have pushed the humble telegram service to a quiet corner with BSNL deciding to discontinue the 160-year-old telegraph service from 15 July,2013. Once the main source of quick and urgent communication, the service delivered many happy and sad news to people spread all over the country. But with the advent of technology and newer means of communication, the telegram found itself edged out.
Telegraphy (from Greek: tele τῆλε "at a distance", and graphein γράφειν "to write") is the long-distance transmission of messages without the physical exchange of an object bearing the message. Telegraphy requires that the method used for encoding the message be known to both sender and receiver.
An electrical telegraph was independently developed and patented in the United States in 1837 by Samuel Morse. His assistant, Alfred Vail, developed the Morse code signalling alphabet with Morse. The first telegram in the United States was sent by Morse on 11 January 1838, across two miles (3 km) of wire at Speedwell Ironworks near Morristown, New Jersey. On 24 May 1844, he sent the message "WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT" from the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the Capitol in Washington to the old Mt. Clare Depot in Baltimore. With the invention of the teletypewriter, telegraphic encoding became fully automated. Early teletypewriters used the ITA-1 Baudot code, a five-bit code. This yielded only thirty-two codes, so it was over-defined into two "shifts", "letters" and "figures". An explicit, unshared shift code prefaced each set of letters and figures.
In India, the first telegraph message was transmitted live through electrical signals between Calcutta (now Kolkata) and Diamond Harbour, a distance of about 50 km, on November 5, 1850; and the service was opened for the general public in February 1855.
Over the years, the BSNL made several technical upgrades in the telegraph service, with the latest being the introduction of a web-based messaging system in 2010. However, growing Internet penetration and cheaper mobile phones in the last decade have kept people away from the 182 telegraph offices across the country.
The Telegram service has seen India change and transform in front of its own eyes. Phenomenal events have been reported through the Telegram. One example is as follows:
The famous telegram read - "Government of India. Regret. Mahatma Gandhi was victim of shooting outrage. Gandhiji expired yesterday evening. Cremation will take place Saturday 4 pm. Prime minister has broadcast Saturday 31st be observed as day of fasting and prayer. Suggests offices should close entirely and flags half mast from sunrise."
Source: Wikipedia, The Hindu. Firstpost, Times of India
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